Mystic Moon of Norfolk held their annual May Moon Festival this past weekend, May 5-7, 2017 at the Mariner’s Museum Park in Newport News. The event celebrates Beltane - one of eight Pagan sabbats (seasonal observances and festivals) that make up the Pagan Wheel of the Year. Beltane is a celebration of spring, fertility, and sexuality. The festival coincides with May Day which is a secularized version of the holiday.
The 14th Annual Dining Out for Life will be held this Thursday, April 27, 2017. Dining Out for Life is an annual fundraiser for Access AIDS Care and other AIDS organizations in 60 other cities across the U.S. and Canada. Money raised goes to help support HIV / AIDS services.
A minimum of 25% of the profits from participating restaurants in Hampton Roads will go to Access AIDS Care. Access AIDS Care provides education outreach and prevention for men, women, and at-risk youth, testing and support services, and also runs the LGBT Center of Hampton Roads.
Aries Apothecary held its grand opening at its new location this past Saturday, April 15, 2017. The shop moved from the Norfolk Flea Market on Military Highway to Hunter’s Mill Shoppes on Virginia Beach Boulevard just across the Norfolk border into Virginia Beach. The apothecary has been in business for three years and opened its doors at the new location on January 16.
Aries Apothecary sells herbs, stones and crystals, candles, essential oils, and all-natural soaps, among other offerings. The shop also features books from local authors including Grace Gemini, Aurora Thornton, and Annaliese Harris. They offer consignments for local authors, artists, and craft persons.
The Mother Earth Spring Festival was held this past Saturday, April 15, 2017, at Oyster Point in Newport News. This is the first of what organizers plan to be an annual event. The event was hosted by Mother Earth Herbal Apothecary and featured a number of vendors, food trucks, and entertainers. The festival celebrates the Earth and the coming of Spring. Vendors included folks selling fresh produce, candles, essential oils, herbs, clothing, jewelry, and other items. There was also henna and body painting, tarot readings, and inflatable slides and bounce houses for the kids. Proceeds went to charity.
The Kim Person and Lana Puckett Concert at the Rainbow Cactus on April 8, 2017 was a breath of fresh air over the standard gay bar fare. The crowd was moderate compared to other concerts I've been to at the Cactus. It seemed to be made up mostly of an aging Lesbian demographic - with a few men in the crowd too. The white haired women at the table across from me could have been grandmothers but were just as likely to have been a longtime couple. Some in the crowd have been following Kim and Lana since their earlier days performing at Shirley's, a Lesbian bar that once existed in Norfolk.
On Thursday, March 30, 2017, a Feminist Activist Fair was held in the North Lobby of Old Dominion University’s Webb University Center. A number of feminist and women’s support organizations participated including the ODU Women’s Studies Department, Hampton Roads NOW, the HerShelter, Transition Family Violence Services, Planned Parenthood, the League of Women Voters, and other such organizations.
Among the organizations represented were a handful of LGBT organizations. These included the ODU Safe Space Committee, the Tidewater Queer History Project, and Access AIDS Care that runs the LGBT Center of Hampton Roads.
March 31 is the International Transgender Day of Visibility. This day is devoted to celebrating transgender folks, and raising awareness of transgender people and the discrimination they face worldwide. The holiday was created by Rachel Crandall in 2009. Crandall felt that there was a lack of LGBT holidays celebrating transgender people. The only other well-known Trans holiday is the Transgender Day of Remembrance that focuses on the deaths and murders of Trans individuals. The Transgender Day of Visibility instead celebrates their lives and achievements.
Eastern Beach Kindred hosted Mystic Moon’s Ostara Ritual this past Saturday, March 18, 2017. Eastern Beach Kindred is a community of families in Hampton Roads who follow a path of Norse Paganism dedicated to the Northern Gods. Besides rituals, the group teaches Norse lore and holds regular classes on Norse magic at Mystic Moon. Ostara is one of eight Pagan sabbats (holy days) making up the Wheel of the Year. Ostara is a celebration of the coming of spring. It is the pre-Christian “Easter” celebration and where all the rabbits and eggs come from. Ostara celebrations take place at or near the spring equinox.
With all the rainbows, it could only mean leprechauns or LGBT folks. The Norfolk St. Patrick's Day Parade in Ocean View on Saturday, March 18, 2017 had both. Two local LGBT organizations took part in the parade among a number of other local clubs, organizations, schools, and businesses.
Hampton Roads Pride has been participating in the parade the past couple of years. New Life MCC joined the parade this year.
Who’s that face watching from within the forest leaves and foliage? Perhaps it’s the Green Man. The Green Man is in many ways the counterpart to Cernunnos. Whereas Cernunnos symbolizes the wild and untamed animal nature of the forest, the Green Man is the embodiment of the wild and fertile vegetation of nature. The Green Man is often depicted as simply a face in the leaves. Branches or vines might sprout from his nose, mouth, or other parts of his face. They may even bear fruit or flowers. He may have leaves for hair or a leafy beard. The face is almost always male. Green women are rare and green cats, lions, and demons are also found. Green Man carvings and sculptures are often found as part of the architecture of churches from the 11th century to the present day. The Pagan-esque symbol of the Green Man in Christian Churches would seem to indicate the vitality of the Green Man and his ability to survive as a symbol of pre-Christian traditions despite the influence of Christianity, while at the same time co-existing with Christianity.
You may have heard the expression in school never to wear green on Thursday because that makes you a "queer" or a "fairy". What seems like a cruel made up children's game to identify gay people actually underscores a long history of the color green being associated with gay men.
The term “fairy” has long been a term used to identify gay men. Its use has been largely derogatory, but some gay men have reclaimed it. In the book, Another Mother Tongue: Gay Words, Gay Worlds, by Judy Grahn, the author points out that green was the primary color worn by mythical fairies, and this connection ties into this tradition. The fairies have freer sexual morals than Christian cultures are comfortable with. In fact, given their extremely long, perhaps even immortal lives, the idea of eternal marriage and coupledom would only give way to boredom. So homosexual bonds were likely to have been acceptable. The color green is a useful color for mythical fairies because it helps them to blend in and remain hidden in their natural environment among the plants and trees.